THE Ukraine crisis is piling pressure on the UK Government to scrap its draconian Borders Bill.

If passed, it would criminalise any refugees – including Ukrainians fleeing for safety – who arrive in the UK outwith official resettlement schemes.

Campaigners claim the legislation contravenes the Refugee Convention which Britain helped draft after the Second World War.

Former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon called it a “damaging precedent” that would “threaten the integrity of the global asylum system”.

The SNP’s shadow home secretary Stuart McDonald MP told the Sunday National that the UK Government should ditch it.

READ MORE: Ukraine crisis piles pressure on Tories to scrap 'toxic' borders bill

“The UK Government’s toxic Nationality and Borders Bill would criminalise and marginalise people fleeing war and prosecution – including Ukrainians fleeing Putin’s brutal invasion,” he said.

“Rather than targeting refugees seeking safety, the UK Government should ditch the bill and instead look to strengthen its efforts in welcoming refugees – including by following our EU partners in waiving visa requirements.”

The Scottish Refugee Council (SRC) also called on Westminster to amend the bill, branding it “unfit to meet the moral and practical needs of today’s unstable world”.

“The UK Government is seeking to essentially end the right to claim asylum in the UK in its anti-refugee bill,” said Gary Christie, head of policy, communications and communities at the SRC.

“This week, the House of Lords voted against part of the bill which would penalise and criminalise refugees, including people fleeing Ukraine or Afghanistan, just because they arrived in the UK off their own back, as many will have to do if they do not fall within narrow changes to visas announced today.

“MPs must now follow suit when the bill returns to the Commons and significantly amend this law – legislation which is totally unfit to meet the moral and practical needs of today’s unstable world.”

He pointed out that as a signatory of the UN Refugee Convention, the UK had an obligation to provide protection to anybody who arrives in need of safety, no matter their nationality.

Christie added that the UK had so far fallen far short in its response to the “truly shocking” situation in Ukraine and measures so far announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel were “inadequate” to bring refugees to safety from a warzone.

He said: “We need to see the UK Government offer solutions which match the gravity of mass displacement from a conflict on our doorstep.

“The UK Government must follow Ireland and waive all visa requirements for Ukrainians and offer them temporary protection status as the European Union voted to do on Thursday.”

The National:

Christie said that although many people in Scotland and the rest of the UK would be eager to help and would offer community sponsorship once the scheme’s details were revealed, it was “unacceptable” for the UK Government to pass the responsibility for bringing people to safety on to communities and individuals.

“As it asks members of the public to step up, the UK Government is stepping down from its moral and legal obligations to offer meaningful assistance,” he said.

MSP Maggie Chapman (below), human rights spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said the Ukraine crisis would only be made worse by the Nationality and Borders Bill.

“It is a callous and cruel piece of legislation that attacks the rights of refugees,” she said.

The National:

“It is part of a wider ‘hostile environment’ worldview that has led to the scandal of Windrush, a huge increase to chartered flights for deportations and dawn raids in our communities. If the UK Government wants to act with humility, humanity and solidarity then it must follow the lead of countries like Ireland and Moldova that are waiving visas for Ukrainians.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scotland has a proud history of welcoming refugees and people seeking asylum from all over the world and we must all stand ready to offer refuge and sanctuary.

“The Scottish Government has significant concerns about the UK Government’s New Plan for Immigration and its Nationality and Borders Bill which will criminalise Ukrainians – and anyone else – entering the UK to seek asylum. The UK needs a humane asylum system, and the UK Government must now immediately drop the bill.

“This Government believes that the UK Government should follow the European Union’s example by waiving all visa requirements for any Ukrainian nationals seeking refuge in the UK.”